Uncertainty Remains CBC Cuts 22 Jobs In Maritimes

CBC Halifax (Photo Stephen Pate)
21 English jobs cut but few CBC employees learned if their jobs are safe in Atlantic Canada, no tweeting allowed

By Stephen Pate – After the 4 PM Town Hall meeting with CBC Regional Director Andrew Cochran, few CBC employees knew if they were staying or going.

Across the Atlantic region, 21 English positions are designated as eliminated, with 11 of those in Halifax, reported the Chronicle Herald.  No word on the losses in the Radio Canada the French service.  Surprisingly Charlottetown PEI staff were told not to worry.

Andrew Cochran (Linkedin/Twitter photo supplied by Mr. Cochran)

CBC employees at the meeting were warned not to Tweet the news which is ironic since CBC says Canadians need CBC to report the news honestly and openly.

“We will continue our commitment to openness and transparency,” CBC President Hubert Lacroix told the Senate in March 2014. ”That has been one of my priorities at CBC/Radio‑Canada.”

Lacroix did not keep his promise to the Senate to be transparent with the public.  Cochran declined to take calls from reporters from the Chronicle Herald, the largest newspaper in Atlantic Canada.

CBC reporters often accuse Prime Minister Harper and his government of arrogance for not meeting the press.  When the tables are turned on the Canada’s publicly funded media, the CBC plays the same game of hiding from the media.

The Herald was able to confirm the 11 dismissals in Halifax with the union.  ”Gerry Whelan, staff representative for guild employees in the Atlantic region, said the design department in Halifax, which constructed props for television shows, is now basically shut down and is closing officially. Employees in the music variety division have also been affected, Whelan said in an interview.”

The lack of transparency by the CBC is a partial explanation for the erroneous report in the Charlottetown Guardian  “The Guardian has learned that 15 positions will be cut in the Maritimes, 13 of those in Halifax but that there will be no changes to any programming in either television or radio, in Charlottetown.”

CBC Charlottetown no news means what?

In Charlottetown PEI, CBC employees were left in the dark about their future with weak assurances that no one would be fired.

CBC Charlottetown one TV news show and a few hours of radio – overstaffed in an oversized building (Photo S. Pate)

“On the surface they are saying there will be  no cuts in Charlottetown, but I doubt if anyone believes that,” said a source within the CBC who asked to remain anonymous. There is a climate of fear inside the CBC and leaks are being hunted down.

“You can’t cut 657 jobs without affecting every location,” said our source.   “It will probably be a few weeks or months before we see the affects.”

Since CBC Charlottetown is accused of Human Rights discrimination in a court case that involves most of the Charlottetown management and news reporters, it is likely they are protected from dismissal until the case is resolved. Management would not want disgruntled former employees testifying in open court or a human rights tribunal about CBC management policies and what happened.

Fired with or without severance

CBC President Hubert Lacroix said that the CBC will not be handing out golden parachutes for any of the dismissed employees. “Lacroix has said there will be no packages offered to those employees shown the door as there is no money for that.”

CBC President Hubert Lacroix explaining $130 million cuts on CBC The National (Photo CBC)

However, Cochran in the Town Hall Meeting at 4 PM on Black Thursday assured his staff that there is plenty of money budgeted for severance.

“There is a lot of money, over 30 million for severance,” said the source “which may mean that senior employees will be offered early retirement packages.   It’s a question about what happens to contracts being renewed and the sales people.”

Obviously CBC is not being honest with Canadians or its employees.  In many ways they are acting like the government they accuse of excess secrecy. Canadians should expect better but the CBC has fought hard to keep its secrets in the past. Exposing other people is easy but public scrutiny of the CBC’s dirty laundry is not voluntary.

From the Chronicle Herald

Eleven CBC posts in Halifax have been cut and there will likely be more in the weeks to come, according to the Canadian Media Guild, which represents the national broadcaster’s employees in this area.

News of the cuts emerged mid-Thursday afternoon, not long after CBC president Hubert Lacroix outlined blistering staff and programming reductions across the country in order to weather a $130-million budget slash for this year.

“Eleven will be taken out of the Halifax operation,” Whelan said, referring to the English services portion of CBC’s operations.

The union representative was still waiting to hear if and when cuts would land at the feet of Radio-Canada, the French-language section of the broadcaster.

No stations are to be closed, he said, noting he wasn’t aware Thursday of any reductions in Sydney. News operations appear to not be affected at this time.

There could likely be cuts coming in the next while, possibly as early as next week, to CBC’s local sales and communications divisions, Whelan said.

Follow me on Twitter at @sdpate or on Facebook at NJN Network, OyeTimes and IMA News Buzz.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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